Hinrich not likely to play tonight

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
 
Published1/19/2008 12:46 AM

Kirk Hinrich sat out his third straight game with back spasms and is unlikely to play tonight when the Bulls host the Detroit Pistons.

"Kirk went to see another doctor this afternoon and it's a muscular thing ... but there doesn't seem to be any skeletal problems," said Bulls coach Jim Boylan. "So we're hoping for the best and he'll be day to day. Hopefully we'll get him back soon."

 

Thabo Sefolosha started again in Hinrich's place.

Before Friday's game, Boylan was asked if he's given any thought to starting Sefolosha alongside Hinrich once the Bulls backcourt is at full strength.

"I'm kind of happy with the way things are going now," Boylan answered. "C-Du (Chris Duhon) is doing a good job for us. So we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

Barkley blasts vets: TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley had some pointed words about the state of the Bulls and the recent issues involving rookie center Joakim Noah.

"I don't know what Noah did to the assistant coach (Ron Adams)," Barkley said on the air Thursday, referring to last week's verbal altercation. "Whatever he did was probably wrong and they suspended him. They are trying to kill this kid and it's the veterans on that team that stink.

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"I want them to stop trying to throw (Noah) under the bus and say that he is screwing up the team. The reason that the Chicago Bulls stink is because of their veteran players."

Change helps offense: Before Jim Boylan took over as coach of the Bulls, the team was averaging 91.5 points per game and shooting 41.3 percent from the field.

Heading into Friday's action, they were averaging 102.1 points per game and shooting 44.6 percent in 11 games under Boylan.

But that didn't mean the Bulls were planning to run with the Warriors, the league's second-highest scoring team.

"You have to be careful. You can't fall into the trap of playing their style," Boylan said prior to the game. "We certainly don't want to walk the ball up the floor. We want to play it at our tempo. They play faster than we do. They score 108 points a game and they give up 107.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's a balancing act. You have to be careful that you don't get drawn into playing too loose a game, which is their strength."

Bull horns: Ben Gordon ranks second in the league in free-throw percentage at 91.0. He's trying to join Ricky Sobers as the only Bulls player in history to shoot 90 percent for a full season. .... Trainer Fred Tedeschi was back with the team Friday after missing part of the road trip because of a family illness.

Today's tipoff

Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons at the United Center, 7:30 p.m.

TV: Channel 9

Radio: WMVP 1000-AM

Update: How the Bulls managed to beat Detroit twice this season is quite a mystery, considering the overall success of the two teams. At 29-10 heading into Friday's home game against Sacramento, the Pistons aren't far behind Boston for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Series history: The Bulls won 97-93 at home on Nov. 8 and 98-91 at Detroit on Dec. 7. In both games, the Pistons didn't get much scoring beyond Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace, while the Bulls had at least five players in double figures.

Next: Memphis Grizzlies on Monday at FedEx Forum, 4:30 p.m.

-- Mike McGraw

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